Saturday night in Lexington I headed downtown to the Short Street Lounge. Due to drummerville's location of me some months ago, I had re-established some on-line contact with his brother, my pal Josh. Josh and I worked together many years during my stint as a manager in the restaurant business. Sometime around '94-'95 he was putting together his first real band and needed a name. We were talking about this one night at work and he asked for suggestions.
Naturally, as most music geeks do, I was sitting on a wealth of band name ideas - one of which was sitting at the top of this mental list. So, naturally, I had one in mind... my favorite at the moment.
"Screamin' Semen and the Non-oxynol Nine"
Apparently, he liked this idea and a band was born. They even had shirts made with a sailing anchor with S.S. & No. 9 for a logo, a bit of genius if you ask me. A couple of years later, in '96 - after the demise of SS&NN - Josh and I began scheming a band together. He would play bass and I would provide vocals, which if you've ever heard me sing, you know this is a laughable proposition in of itself. But, nothing special, just fast, hard punk stuff for shits and giggles. Since Sreamin' Semen and the Non-oxynol Nine had already been used, I was fresh out of killer band name ideas. So we spent some time thinking about it and finally settled on the idea of Skank. Not wanting to be confused with any other band, you know, just in case - I made some internet searches, just to be sure. Unfortunately, there was a rather prominent Brazilian rock band with this name already, so we tooled the name to Skank Revolution.
If you google the name today, our old website (as pathetic as it is) still stands at Geocities.
We recruited a drummer (Greg) he knew then set out to find a guitarist. First there was this one dude, but after one afternoon of punk-jammin' I guess he decided it wasn't for him. We then recruited another guy we worked with named Jason. Jason was pretty cool and we started writing original songs. But Jason was a bit unreliable, not to mention, he could never remember anything we had just played from the previous rehearsal and re-teaching Jason the songs every week became tedious. What is it about guys named Jason?
So, we recruited Ruel who had played guitar in the afore mentioned SS&NN. We continued to put together songs, even dusting off a couple of the better ones from the previous band's catalogue. We put together enough original material padded with a few cover songs to flesh out a 30-45 minute set of music and began knocking on some club doors around town. In our brief history, we played-out twice - both clubs now defunct - once at the Wrocklage and once at the House of Heresy during the summer/fall of '97.
I'm recounting all of this for several reasons. For one, it was for the first show at the Wrocklage when "soopageek" was born.
Indeed that is me dressed so foolishly, that photo taken just before we left our practice space and headed downtown for the Wrocklage show. I would later adopt the moniker as my official internet nick and has remained so until this day, obviously. I have some really cruddy recordings we did one afternoon on a boombox and some rather decent live ones from our second show. I've flirted with the idea of putting them online here some day. Perhaps I'll get around to it sometime. So, now you know that story...
...so I can tell you the rest of it.
Right before I began trucking, I ran into Ruel at a guitar shop in town. I was selling-off my Fender Duo Sound for some extra cash while I was transitioning into my new career. I had lost touch with Josh as well as the other guys in the band and he informed me that he and Josh were starting a new band at the time, called Psycho Bitch Magnet. Naturally there were some slight pangs of jealousy and an immediate rush of sentimentality for my brief stint in a rock band. He gave me his cell number at the time, but I never got around to keeping in touch. I had way too many things on my plate at the time.
Then drummerville finds me one night a couple of months ago. I had worked with him as well at the restaurant, so it was nice catching up with him. That night, he relayed his role as drummer for PBM for a while until he decided to leave the band. He gave me some contact information for Josh, though, and I managed to catch up with him online. We've been chatting back and forth now for a couple of months, but I haven't had the time to meet-up with him anywhere. Until Saturday night.
I walked into the club and immediately saw Ruel as I was waiting to get in the door. After getting my hand stamped I walked over and we chatted for a bit. Ruel told me something that I kind of wish he had let be a total surprise, but since he didn't, I will save it for later in the sotry and YOU can be surprised. They were going to be taking the stage in a matter of minutes. I saw Josh on stage with his back turned to the room, doing some final checks on his bass equipment. I walked onto the stage and mosied up along-side him and stood there for a minute watching him fiddle with his gear. He finally turned and saw me and I made this loud guttural "Errraaahhh!". We hugged, 8 years of distance dissolved in a moment as the familiarity of old friends filled the space.
He didn't have time to talk at that moment though. We chatted super-briefly but I had to get off the stage, it didn't belong to me. A few years back, I had taken Josh to see Nashville Pussy with me at Lynaugh's. It's safe to say that that brush with cow-punk, trash-rock has had a direct influence on Psycho Bitch Magnet, one suited for Ruel's musical background and Josh's general demeanor. Incidentally, Josh adopted a full-blown rock and roll identity... the brash Johnny Throttle. He along with Ruel, Hawkeye and Laney comprise the trash quartet.
Johnny Throttle fronts the band, lending his gruff vocals while holding down the bottom heavy rhythm on his General Lee bass guitar. You can't tell because the sticker is reflective... but it's a big "01" and the body of the bass is bright orange.
Ruel handles rhythm guitar on his Flying V with some occasional back-up vocals....
...while Hawkeye keeps time behind his trap kit. Unfortunately, I couldn't get a good photo of Hawkeye in action. The lighting was horrible and I was a little self-conscious about constantly setting the flash off. Here's one, though, from the PBM website, just to be equal.
Finally there is Laney with his Les Paul providing scorching leads and solos.
Their set was high-energy....
I think this interested me the most. Having not heard Ruel or Josh play for so long, I was impressed with their growth as musicians, or more precisely their ability to work as musicians. Granted, nothing we did then and nothing they are doing now is charting in new musical frontiers; it's high-octane rock and roll for the kids and to pretend otherwise would be an insult to any dude that's ever picked up a guitar with a desire to "fuck shit up" and have a good time. But there is something be said for developing one's ability to the point that four guys can execute a 3 minute rock song tightly and energetically. Psycho Bitch Magnet is way tighter than anything I've seen of these two heretofore.
So what was the surprise? Psycho Bitch Magnet has decided to play (and are preparing to record) an old Skank Revolution song! It's not just any song either, it's the Skank Revolution signature song. A song for which I wrote the lyrics, melody, and general arrangement along with Josh. A sweet little dittie called "Jailbait Skank Queen". While I was/am an atrocious vocalist, my lyrical skills are nearly as horrid... but there's a brief moment in that song that I consider my crowning achievement in my contribution to rock and roll. I penned the punk-tastic line "You spent the day in detention and your boyfriend dumped ya/Now you're cruising the playground in your fuck-me pumps". Before the show started, Ruel had told me about this, so when I saw Josh just before they started their set I asked him when I could expect my fucking royalites.
So, Josh, er, Johnny Throttle introduced the song as they began to play. He said, "The originator of this song is here tonight. If soopageek would like to come up and sing it for us." I declined though and shouted I didn't remember the words.
But I lied. Of course I remember the words, I just was a little unprepared for doing it that night. I'm glad I refrained, they did a slightly alternate take on the chorus which I would've totally messed-up, so it's best that I didn't. Maybe another time. :)
Still though, it'll be pretty cool to have a song of mine immortalized in a studio production. I don't need no stinkin' royalties, but I better get an album credit. Lyrics: soopageek. Muwahahaha.
After the show, we goofed around some outside with the camera. For those of you wondering about the "moon" photo the other day, that's Ruel. Josh is the one a'struttin' a la Abbey Road. I took a few of them that night, as they were in need of some new publicity stills. Here's what we came up with, spur of the moment in the dark, in addition to the group photo above.
Laney didn't like it that he was smiling in that photo, but I think that's a great shot. Here's some variants of that one:
I think they all turned out rather well. All in all it was a fun evening. If this has piqued your interest in the slightest, check out the entire set of photos I took Saurday night HERE.